Friday, September 18, 2015

The time for Joplin to drop Bright Futures is now

Webb City and East Newton have dropped their affiliations with Bright Futures and Neosho is considering taking the same action.

None of those schools are abandoning children in need. Their activities will remain the same. They will just be done under different names.

Webb City and East Newton have led the way.

Now it is time for the Joplin R-8 School District to follow suit and end this remaining connection to the recently concluded tenure of former Superintendent C. J. Huff.

The good works can continue. The snack packs can be prepared for children. If a child needs a coat, or a pair of shoes, the word can still go out and that need can be met within 24 hours. The basic premise of Bright Futures has always been a good one.

These things can and should continue.

What needs to end is the idea that we need a bloated bureaucracy and a $700,000 budget to do what other school districts are doing with part-time and volunteer help.
All of the extra money, donated or not, has led to an expansion of services that has seen Bright Futures Joplin paying electric bills and rent for students, actions that seem questionable for a school district.

The basic problem with Bright Futures is that it has become too firmly associated with the toxic presence that C. J. Huff has become. His recent hiring as a paid consultant for Bright Futures USA was opposed by Webb City Superintendent Tony Rossetti, and with good reason.

State taxpayers are paying $150,000 this year for BFUSA and most of that amount is going to salaries for Huff, Executive Director Kim Vann, and other employees. What are the taxpayers getting for that money? An organization that simply wants to keep expanding, pulling in $2,500 from the schools that enroll and then thousands of dollars from schools to send personnel to the annual Bright Futures USA Conference at Missouri Southern State University.

While the BFUSA training has been helpful to schools that have joined Bright Futures, there has never been a need for an umbrella organization to do this. As I noted earlier, the Bright Futures blueprint of meeting student needs, using social media, and working with the business, civic, and faith-based communities, can be printed on one page with room left over.

An annual workshop to share ideas on how to provide for students in need is not a bad idea, but it does not need to be an annual orgy of testimony and praise for the Bright Futures brand.

Quite simply, the basic Bright Futures idea needs to be preserved.. The self-congratulatory monument to C. J. Huff that it has become needs to be eliminated immediately.

In the Joplin R-8 School District, Bright Futures has operated as a separate fiefdom, at times usurping the role of educators and any criticism of the organization has been met with anguished cries about how much the critics hate children.

I have never met any critic of Bright Futures who had animosity toward children. The criticism has always been directed at what started out as a wonderful idea and ended up being corrupted when it became more about one person and the expansion of one organization than an effort to quickly the meet the needs of children.

The time for Joplin to sever ties with Bright Futures is now.


Anonymous said...

I so agree. Keep going under a new name. Do PTO's or PTA's still exist?

Anonymous said...

the plan was to attend the Bright Futures conference because Ruby Payne was going to be the keynote speaker. Those plans changed when Huff was appointed as a consultant. I wish Ruby Payne would subscribe to the Turner Report and maybe she would back out of this. Why would she want to help someone who goes against her main goal, helping kids!

Anonymous said...

any doubt discussions under way for the chamber of commerce to pick up bright futures as a committee of the chamber. cage and wert will appear...and of course o'brien

Anonymous said...

Yes PTO's still exist! The elementary schools started a new fundraiser today selling caramel apples from Candy House. Guess who checks are to be made out to??? Bright Futures. My question is are the teachers and schools actually going to get this money?? If not then my child won't be selling any!

Anonymous said...

Details here on the current BF caramel apple fundraiser

Facebook post at BF on the 2013 caramel apple sales.
Bright Futures Joplin

Operation College Bound is in full swing in several of our elementary schools. Each Joplin student, age kindergarten through 5th grade, will tour a college campus in the spring. We are proud that our Eagles are "College Bound" and want to help them raise money. Currently, coupled with The Candy House and Bright Futures, students are selling yummy caramel apples. The cost is $4.50 and half of the money goes directly to the school to help with costs associated with Operation College Bound. If you would like to purchase an apple, please contact one of the following schools:

Teaching kindergartners to sell sugar loaded junk food at inflated prices as a school connected activity? All for the kids! /s

Really? said...

I don't know why you people are so cynical. Do you not realize that if we could get each child to sell just ten delicious apples, we could pay Dr. Huff's consulting fees for an entire month.

Anonymous said...

like to see their sign gone in carthage toot sweet

Anonymous said...

How about each kid sells 20 delicious apples this month. Dr. Huff could get a bonus! If each kid sold 20 delicious apples every month then Dr Huff could get a permanent contract AND a raise, Kim Vann could get another raise, and the Freeman Diabetes Center could expand to treat all the new cases of juvenile diabetes.

Anonymous said...

Selling 20 apples per kid should be easy, all they have to do is buy and eat one each day at school.

Anonymous said...

Bright Futures Joplin and Bright Futures USA are not the same. The candy apple fundraiser has nothing to do with Dr. Huff or BFUSA.

Anonymous said...

This year the apples are $5 for 1. Not to be a downer but kindergarten thru 5th grade really don't need to go to a college campus for a visit. At my sons school there are 3 of each grade and 80 2nd graders alone. I would think the colleges wouldn't like hundreds of little kids running around campus. And besides Southern and Pitt what colleges are there???

Unknown said...

And to top it off the schools just sent a fundraiser home that said to make checks payable to bright futures aND they told the kids this was to raise money to take field trips to colleges...uhh..hello...where is our tax money going?

Not happy said...

And to top it off the schools just sent a fundraiser home that said to make checks payable to bright futures aND they told the kids this was to raise money to take field trips to colleges...uhh..hello...where is our tax money going?

Anonymous said...

The college visits are intended to let kids know from a young age what a college is and that you can really go there, no matter what. It goes beyond kids just hearing about how they can go to college. Many students haven't been outside their own neighborhoods, much less to a college.
Actually, colleges do welcome these visits. These are prospective students. These "little kids" aren't "running around campus." They're given a positive experience that should be geared to their age. Different age groups go to different places.

I do think that showing students that education after high school can happen and where that education leads is important. We have career fairs at schools so students know what kinds of jobs they might want to have, showing them how to get them is a good idea too.
I question why we don't have some of these trips be technical colleges or beauty schools. Even Franklin Tech where a student can earn certifications and training for different jobs would be an eye opener for some.

You don't have to go to college to be successful and have a career that you enjoy along with an income you can live on. Much of that depends on what you want to do.

Without Bright Futures, many kids wouldn't be finding out about those colleges because not all the schools have the same amount of money to use, just like not all people have the same incomes.

The name Bright Futures is too closely associated with Huff. If someone were to take on the Operation College Bound, fund it and possibly revamp it to include something besides long distance field trips, that would be great. If someone were to take on connecting all organizations so that students can have things that are really needed (food, clothes, beds, shelter, utilities, etc.) then maybe we would have what Bright Futures was in the beginning and not the political, cliqueish waste that it has become.

Anonymous said...

What I think is it is time to do, is dismiss Jennifer Doshier, JasonCravens, Tina Smith, and both curriculum directors. I know, for a fact, after a visit, that Dr. Ridder cringes every time JD opens her mouth. He is talking to former employees, and from my visit, all former McKinley employees. I also let him know that Tina Smith took my deposition on another employee, and asked me what the main problem was, I was honest and told her it came from the head of McKinley School JD. I also personally know 7-9 other teachers that told Ms. Smith the same thing.
I also told him how Sarah Stevens handed out a survey for the teachers. It allegedly was "confidential". She went into her meeting, told her committee that she ripped them up and trashed them because they were too negative. You all better be polishing that resume, because the writing is on the wall. Your bullying, lies, and getting rid of people because they truly know what is going on, has come to an abrupt halt. Your names have come up in private and confidential meetings with Dr. Ridder.